As digital impacts and transforms all media, Peter Kim, Chief Digital Officer, Cheil Worldwide, believes that it will change social media from its present form. Speaking at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, Mr Kim focussed on how brands should prepare for the future of social media.
Having worked in digital strategy since 1999, Mr Kim was amongst the first analysts to have a briefing with Facebook in 2005. Citing the evolution of Facebook from a university students’ platform and of YouTube that launched with a video of the San Diego Zoo, Mr Kim advised to look back at the history of these social media behemoths before considering trends that will shape the development of social media up to 2025.
Needless to say that brands and agencies must understand global digital trends to seize the initiative in a new era of opportunity. “Today’s social media landscape has evolved dramatically over the past decade, but many brands continue to employ simple strategies from the pre-IPO days,” he said.
He observed that innovation is a global process. Anticipating what’s next requires an understanding of the ‘East’ and the ‘West. Mr Kim pointed out five specific ways in which social media will evolve.
#1. The new social media
Mr Kim stated that the way agencies utilised, and monetised, social will disappear. “I guarantee it,” he said, adding, “Social media as we know will no longer exist.”
#2. The rise of social commerce
Like most other platforms, commerce will be the holy grail for social media too. Initiatives are already seen by current players on how social media platforms will become more about transactions.
#3. Social media will be Chinese
As Chinese brands grow into Western markets, and the significance of BAT – Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent, is felt the world over, combined with the fact that China is set to be the largest digital economy, will bring an undeniable impact on global social media.
#4. Subcutaneous social media
As the conversations around Internet of Things (IoT) move to “addressability”, and social media is utilised as the connecting platform, a new set of opportunities will open up.
#5. Automated social media
Programmatic will make a noticeable impact on social media in the next decade. Mr Kim pointed out, “Programmatic has the ability to allow publishers to de-clutter sites and serve relevant advertising in a way that consumers will accept.”
#6. Snackable social media
In order for brand content to stand out, publishers will have to craft bite sized content that will not only attract consumers but will also engage them to share the content.
Some of the other points he made included social media being integrated, filtered, empowered and connective.
“Just as brands have figured out how to use social media, the game has changed. Trends are moving off in new directions and people don’t want to just ‘join the conversation’ with brands. They want to engage brands in action. Brands need to evolve their approach to succeed in a new social world of ‘overload, filter failure and narcissism’,” Mr Kim summed up.